Which Oracle Release are you using?

Post Date: August 2018!

Recently an awesome Oracle Guru friend of mine questioned someone who was installing 11.2.0.4 with the word “seriously”, which is think shows that Oracle staff sometimes don’t live in the same technological world as the rest of business.

My response was:

11.2.0.4 is normal. In the real world:

– large corps mostly use old versions
– consultants look at current versions
– Oracle staff look at unreleased versions

I have known instances of Oracle staff blogging about how a feature works when, in the officially released versions, it didn’t. It only worked that way in a version which was released some months later. There was no reference to the release and the fact that there was a significant functional change between releases (but I suppose that’s a blog and not “official” documentation – the official documentation said nothing at all about how that particular feature worked. Nothing! So thank you mystery blogger.)

Anyway, the point of this post was I then did a small twitter poll to my most excellent and cosy band of followers to see what Oracle releases people were using. I asked 2 questions (because twitter is limited) and here’s the results:

oracle_version_highest

So more people have some form of 12 in the DB, but only 7% have 18 in Production. This at a time when most Oracle staff are thinking about Oracle 20 and 21, as Oracle 19 is done and just awaiting release. Think about that, Oracle… Whenever I am at a presentation by an Oracle PM, I think “wow – I might be able to use those new features in 2-5 years”.

oracle_version_lowest

So very few people have 12.x as their lowest version (which would include 18 as that’s really 12.2.0.2) and MORE have 9, 8 or 7 as their major headache! Yes – there are more on 9, 8 and 7 than are using 18 in Production. Lets say that once more. There are more on 9, 8 and 7 than are using 18 in Production

So why upgrade? Very few databases take advantage of all of the latest sexy features. I suspect that many of the applications still being produced could run on Oracle 7.3.4. – more so as the proliferation of ORM’s like Hibernate has left a generation of developers with little appreciation of the database and how to take advantage of it**. So why upgrade? These days? Security. Patches. Support. Without those 3 things, you are living on hope, hope that nothing goes wrong as you’ll struggle to find anyone to fix it – including Oracle. Hoping that nobody tries to hack your 8.1.7 database as it’s a Swiss Cheese of vulnerabilities, like all 7, 8, 8i, 9i, 10G DB’s. Not that we hear about systems being compromised every day on the news.

Anecdote #1: By coincidence I was talking to a client at about the same time and whilst they are a mostly 12.1 shop, they still had an old 8i database hanging around… as usual it was going to  be “retired soon” (which in my experience means sometime in the next 15-20 years) and wasn’t worth the time and effort to be upgraded or even do a business case to upgrade it!

**Anecdote #2: At a client a few years ago, an excellent Java Developer asked me to put an index on a flag column. I pointed out that with only 3 values that an index wouldn’t help, and as this was OLTP a bitmap index wasn’t appropriate due to concurrency issues. He said that with 3 values indexed, his query would be 3 times faster! We sat down and I explained some database fundamentals to him, at which point he said “don’t put an index on there – that would be a stupid idea”. A few weeks later he came back over and asked about SQL queries “I’m trying to aggregate this data – can the database help?”. I spent 30 minutes showing him in-line views and windowing analytic functions and we wrote the code he needed for his output. “Wow! You have just saved me 3 days of Java coding…” – he was going to pull everything into Java and process it there, so as well as 3 days of coding, we also saved the SAN, the network and a whole bunch of CPU by dealing with data at the database layer – which is always the most efficient place to deal with it!

Oracle Audit Control part 1 – location of the audit table

One of the oldest problems with the Auditing capabilities within Oracle is that the SYS.AUD$ table resides in the SYSTEM tablespace. Unless you are rigorous in ensuring that your audit records are routinely pruned to keep the table manageable, it can single-handedly make the SYSTEM tablespace enormous.

Historically, we used to move the table and its associated objects to a new tablespace ourselves. In Oracle 7 is was a drop and re-create. Later we performed an alter table … move; command, coupled with an alter index rebuild. However, some bits frequently got left behind doing this…

In Oracle 10, a new package appeared: DBMS_AUDIT_MGMT. The procedure SET_AUDIT_TRAIL_LOCATION allowed you to move the table to a new tablespace. It didn’t work properly. It didn’t move indexes or LOB segments, and shouldn’t be used. However, roll on Oracle 11 and the (obvious) bugs have been ironed-out.

First of all, moving the table (NOTE: If the table is big, this may take quite a while. Only do this at a period of low system activity to avoid potential locking issues at the start and end of the move):

BEGIN
 DBMS_AUDIT_MGMT.SET_AUDIT_TRAIL_LOCATION(
 AUDIT_TRAIL_TYPE => DBMS_AUDIT_MGMT.AUDIT_TRAIL_AUD_STD,
 AUDIT_TRAIL_LOCATION_VALUE => 'SYSAUX');
END;
/

This works a treat in Oracle 11 and 12 for the standard audit trail, and for fine-grained auditing. It successfully moved every object associated with SYS.AUD$.

select owner,table_name,tablespace_name from dba_tables where table_name = 'AUD$'
OWNER                          TABLE_NAME                     TABLESPACE_NAME
------------------------------ ------------------------------ --------------------------
SYS                            AUD$                           SYSAUX

select owner,table_name,tablespace_name from dba_lobs where table_name = 'AUD$'
OWNER                          TABLE_NAME                     TABLESPACE_NAME
------------------------------ ------------------------------ --------------------------
SYS                            AUD$                           SYSAUX
SYS                            AUD$                           SYSAUX

select owner,table_name,tablespace_name from dba_indexes where table_name = 'AUD$'
OWNER                          TABLE_NAME                     TABLESPACE_NAME
------------------------------ ------------------------------ --------------------------
SYS                            AUD$                           SYSAUX
SYS                            AUD$                           SYSAUX

WARNING! Oracle still say that AUD$ should be in the system tablespace for upgrades. I can’t find anything that supercedes that, despite moving the table now being supported by an official package that works.

 

 

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